Study: Prescriptions for ADHD Rising, Antibiotics Declining
June 19, 2012
by Katie Murray
A new report by the Food & Drug Administration, published in Pediatrics on Monday, highlighted some interesting trends in prescriptions for patients between the ages of 0 and 17 between 2002 and 2010, reports TIME.com. While prescriptions for adults increased by 22 percent during that period, prescriptions for kids fell 7 percent to 263.6 million in 2010.
As part of that decline in prescriptions for children, the FDA study found that prescriptions for antibiotics dropped 14 percent (although remained the most frequently dispensed medication for kids), allergy medications sank 61 percent, and cough and cold drugs fell 42 percent. The authors noted that the drops in antibiotics and cough/cold medications are likely due to messaging from public health experts about the dangers of the overuse of antibiotics and the lack of efficacy of OTC cough/cold medications for children under the age of 2.
While the number of prescriptions for children was down overall, the study found significant increases in prescriptions for asthma (14%), ADHD (46%), and birth control (93%). The increase in prescriptions for ADHD is likely connected to improved medications and a rise in ADHD diagnoses; a recent study from Northwestern University reports that between 2000 and 2010, the total number of ADHD cases in children under 18 increased by 66 percent. TIME explains that the rise in birth control prescriptions may be due to increased duration of use or use for reasons like acne treatment, as national surveys have not found a significant increase in the number of girls taking birth control pills in the last two decades.
Do any of these trends in prescriptions for kids surprise you—especially the increase in ADHD meds?